World Rugby cancels Hamilton sevens tournament

General view as the sun sets during the 2018 New Zealand Sevens at FMG Stadium in Hamilton. Photo...
The Hamilton leg of the World Sevens Series has been cancelled for 2021. Photo: Getty Images
New Zealand Rugby has reaffirmed its commitment to the All Blacks and Black Ferns Sevens Tokyo Olympic Games preparations after organisers made the decision to call off the 2021 New Zealand Sevens.

World Rugby announced yesterday the New Zealand and Australian legs of the 2021 World Rugby Sevens Series will not be played due to the continued global uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.

NZR General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum said it was disappointing for the teams, fans, and event partners, but a sensible decision under current circumstances.

"We've had three great years in Hamilton and were planning to take the tournament back to FMG Stadium Waikato again next January, but we understand and support the decision to cancel."

The Hamilton and Sydney rounds of the World Rugby Sevens Series 2021 had been provisionally scheduled for 23-24 and 30-31 January 2021 respectively.

NZR's four-year licence to host a World Series tournament remains in place through to 2023.

In July World Rugby confirmed the series titles for the 2019-20 season would be awarded to the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens teams, their first combined victory since the 2014 season.

The season was halted early due to Covid-19, with four men's and three women's tournaments cancelled. The New Zealand teams were leading the standings.

HSBC New Zealand Sevens co-promoter and 37 South Managing Director Dallas Fisher said Hamilton and the Waikato region should be proud of what had been achieved over the past three years.

"The event has generated significant financial benefits for the region and been an immense source of pride for the city. Fans have embraced the event and we will be ready and willing to do it all again in the future."

The All Blacks and Black Ferns Sevens teams' schedules had been disrupted, but Lendrum said contingency plans were well advanced to ensure both teams were well prepared for the Tokyo Olympics.

"The goal of our sevens teams to succeed at the Olympics hasn't changed and our high-performance team have done a great job ensuring the players remain fit, focused and informed."

Most of NZR's contracted Sevens players would be involved in the Farah Palmer Cup and Mitre 10 Cup respectively. An Oceania invitational tournament in early 2021 was also being discussed, while World Rugby was working on an abbreviated World Sevens Series schedule.

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